I am amazed by the bizarre decision of the Penang State Education Department to discourage teachers and students from participating in a noble project to instill greater mutual respect and awareness among students from various races and cultural backgrounds. Stupidity and absurdity knows no limit. Of course, it is a known fact that human being with pea brain always resort to stupid acts to gain notoriety. If I understand it correctly, the project, organized by Korad Adenaeir Foundation and Malaysia Interfaith Network, is aim at fostering nation building and social integration by inculcating greater understanding and tolerance of cultural differences among various races in the country.
On one hand, we have the national political leadership crying out political statements and beating all sorts of noisy drums to state the important of harmonious cohabitation by Malaysians of all races. However, when a noble program was initiated from the grassroots community to achieve this objective, it was conveniently discouraged by the government machinery. Was it due to ignorances, biased preferences, or perhaps fears ? But for whatever legitimate reasons they may come out later, it gives the impression that the government is only interested in playing lip service and not sincere in wanting to see future Malaysians living in a united country. Rakyat hidup bersatu dan maju ?
Why the Islamic Education Sector of the Penang State Education Department is against the initiative that aim to foster better understanding of the various races in Malaysia ? Co-incidentally, an event organized by Inter-Faiths Forum to have better understanding of constitution of Malaysia in relations to rights of all Malaysians was also sabotaged and prematurely ended by mobs.
Perhaps it is about time the Penang's Chief Minister office and the federal Prime Minister's office shows its sincereness in wanting to promote national integration by removing the real obstacles. In this case, remove the “little Napoleons”, to paraphrase our Prime Minister. Please demote them and transfer them out to far away remote villages to minimized the damages that could have caused by them.
Malaysia has achieved 49 glorious years of prosperity and harmony. Where do you see yourselfe another 49 years down the road ? I guess most of us would probably by dead by then. The good life we enjoy now is the result of goodworks done by our previous generations of Malaysians. Let us not be so selfish and blinded by our own personal biased preferences and selfish communal greeds. Let us start some goodworks now for our future generations. 49 years from now, I shall look down from heaven and see a prosperous Bangsa Malaysia living harmoniously and happily in a blessed land called Malaysia.
49 years from now..........
Abrupt end to social integration programme
18 May 2006 Sharanjit Singh and Himanshu Bhatt
The New Straits Times
GEORGE TOWN: A project to promote mutual respect and awareness among students for the different cultures has come to an abrupt end — all because the Penang Education Department did not give its sanction. A circular from the department has gone out to all schools in the State, cautioning teachers and students from participating. This is despite the fact that the project, organised by Universiti Sains Malaysia, Konrad Adenaeur Foundation and the Malaysian Interfaith Network, was launched by Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas on Feb 4. The circular has resulted in students’ participation to be discontinued for now. The programme comprised a series of forums, exhibitions and guided walking tours for students around heritage sites of various religious communities as part of their extra-curricular activities. The programme was part of efforts to inculcate greater understanding of cultural differences among various communities in the country under the Penang Global Ethics Project. The Penang Heritage Trust (PHT) was entrusted to help implement the guided walks for students and those interested to visit and learn about heritage sites on the island. One of the main activities was a guided tour for students along the "streets of harmony" in Penang. It comprised tours of Jalan Masjid Kapitan Kling (formerly Pitt Street), where some of the country’s oldest religious buildings — a church, a mosque, a Hindu temple and a Chinese temple — are located. PHT president Dr Choong Sim Poey said some 400 students from 13 schools had participated until the circular was issued and the project stalled. "The programme was very popular among teachers and students. The information given was constructive and educational," he said, adding that it was meant to help foster nation-building and social integration. Choong said the PHT was disappointed that a circular from the department was issued without consulting the organisers. In the circular, signed by the department’s Islamic Education sector chief, Umar Aziz, all school heads were informed that the project had not received any approval from the department. The heads were told to report students or teachers involved in the programme to the department. Choong said that the event was a bona fide programme to promote history, culture and integration, and should be allowed and encouraged. He said the department was not approached about the tours for students because the activities were extra-curricular. The New Straits Times has learnt that Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon has been informed of the matter and that it is to be discussed by the State Executive Council soon. Umar and other department officials could not be reached for comment.